On Thursday morning, Lisa and I had a meeting for all new administrators and their mentors. We have been attending these meetings all school year. Each time we meet we are reminded of the importance of being in the moment, being where our feet are, and what I love best, is that we are usually asked to celebrate our accomplishments.
At J.W. Reason we are so good at reflecting and revising and working to get better every day. We must remember to take time to celebrate. So today, I challenge you to take two minutes to make of list of your accomplishments from this year. CELEBRATE the greatness that has occurred!
On Friday there will be a place in the workroom for you to post some of your celebrations! We all need to share in each others accomplishments.
This time of year can be exciting and stressful; happy and sad; exhilarating and disappointing all wrapped up into one. Wednesday was a mix of emotions for me and many of you. I was so happy to welcome Samantha Denman to our 2nd grade team and Fred Neuhausal as our Spanish teacher. Then, I had to tell Amy and Cheri that they were moving to other buildings.
As I reflect on this day, I realize that often times endings and beginnings happen at the exact same time. For Samantha it's the end of stressing out about getting a full time position and the beginning of her dream of having her own classroom. For Fred, it's the end of being a high school Spanish teacher in a place where he certainly feels comfortable and knows what to do and the beginning of a new program at an elementary school where his son attends! These are exciting endings and beginnings. For Cheri and Amy it seems a little different. They're ending many years at a school they love, in a place where their friends are and where they feel comfortable to embark on new adventures in new buildings.
Endings and beginnings-they can be bitter sweet; they can be so many different things to different people. One thing that is the same about the endings and beginnings that I experienced today is that each person graciously accepted their ending and greeted their beginning with a positive mindset and a desire to serve children.
What a team we have here. I could not be more excited to see what the future holds for us. I leave you with one of my favorite quotes and I encourage you to consider how you look at endings and beginnings. What if this is not the end. What if it is not even the beginning of the end. What if, perhaps it is simply the end of the beginning.
We're on a journey this is not the destination.
After 7 years at JW Reason, I truly feel like I've seen the increase in poverty right before my eyes. We see more and more students struggling with food insecurity, housing insecurity, lacking basic health care needs and more.
Did you know that the fight against poverty began in 1964 but today more than 51 percent of students in United States public schools are eligible for free and reduced lunches?
The question I've been asking myself this year is, are we doing enough? What are we missing? What else is out there to help our kids? Can we make a difference?
Then, I stumbled across the book Disrupting Poverty! This book is giving me hope. This book is affirming. If you are looking for a read that connects directly to our lives, I think this book is it.
I love it when things are organized and in rows! And if you add labels then I love it even more. But, to me, what’s even better than those organized, labeled rows is the mess that has to first be created in order to achieve such a level of pristine neatness. That’s right, I love tearing everything out of closets, cupboards, drawers, basements or anywhere that “stuff” exists. I love picking through the stuff, throwing things away, donating things and then organizing the left over items so they all have a proper place. Oh and of course after everything is sorted, I get to go find new things to fill up the empty space!
My love of messes makes being a principal the perfect career choice for me. Think of all of the messes we get to encounter every day. Now, most of them are not created by our choosing, but some of them are. Right now, our kindergarten, first, second grade teachers and me are voluntarily making a mess. The “closet” we’re cleaning out is our word study practices and boy are we messy! We’ve analyzed data, recognized deficit areas and started digging in to sort through the things that need thrown away or put back into the closet. And, we’re shopping for new things to fill in the empty space.
Think about it like this: What would happen if you never cleaned out your closet? I’m sure there would lots of things that are no longer in style and things that no longer fit (too big, of course). And, eventually, your closet would be so full that you would no longer have room to add anything new and you’d have to stay satisfied with the outdated and ill-fitting things you had in it. It’s the same for our educational practices. We need to continue to take inventory on the work we do. We need to look at current trend data and ensure that the things in our educational “closets” are working for our current needs. When they’re not, then we need to start cleaning out.
I challenge you to think about things that are in your educational “closet”. Do they still fit? Is there a need that you are unable to address because you need to clean out and make room for something new? Take inventory and make a mess! You’ll be happy with the result.